Nick Goodwin KC and Sian Cox represented the Local Authority in the case of Re N(Children: Findings Against a Professional Witness: Joinder or Intervention) [2024] EWFC 17


6th Feb 2024 | Cases


These proceedings concern two children who are the subject of public law applications brought by the local authority. The allegations made are that the two children have suffered significant harm as a consequence of the mother exaggerating and fabricating medical conditions. The mother is accused of misleading medical professionals and exposing the children to unnecessary physical and emotional harm through extensive procedures and investigations.

This hearing deals with the joinder or intervention of one specific medical professional, the children’s paediatric doctor (Dr K) who has provided medical care to the children since they were each less than a year old. It is alleged that there is an unprofessional relationship between Dr K and the mother, in which Dr K has been manipulated by the mother to the extent that it has affected their medical opinions.

This application arose after the court had heard 4 weeks of complex medical evidence regarding the children, including criticisms of Dr K by other professionals, leading to Dr K being warned that the court may make adverse findings against them. The matter is part heard, with a further 4 weeks listed.

Nick and Sian, for the local authority, submitted that on an application of Re W (A Child) [2016] EWCA Civ 1140 Dr K should not be joined or otherwise allowed to intervene on the basis that (a)
the allegations about the doctor in this case fall squarely within ‘the known parameters of the case’ and (2) Dr K’s article 6 rights have been protected by giving advance notice of the case against them, including disclosure of relevant documents, and the opportunity to seek legal advice and file further evidence in response,

Having considered the local authority’s ‘carefully drafted schedule’ the court considers it inappropriate for Dr K to become a party to or to be represented in any other way during the remainder of proceedings. The court is satisfied that Dr K’s article 6 and 8 rights have been appropriately protected by the steps taken in the case.

To read the full published judgment please click on this link: N, Re (Children: Findings Against A Professional Witness: Joinder or Intervention) [2024] EWFC 17 (30 January 2024) (bailii.org)

Reported in Local Government Lawyer.


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